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Ex-prime minister wants to see increased ethics in mining business
Sweden's former conservative prime minister Fredrik Reinfeldt wants to see increased ethics and openness in the international mining industry.
He also advocates more fair distribution of the profits from the mines.
He told in an interview for Swedish daily Svenska Dagbladet about his new mission as chairman of a global initiative for increased sustainability in the oil, gas and mining industries.
"A large part of the investments made in the world's gas, oil, and mining sectors are pension funds that seek returns in different ways. I think that too many savers are important that it is done in a manner that is also ethically acceptable and in a manner that makes it possible to follow the money, says the former moderator of DN Global Development.
Fredrik Reinfeldt is currently chairing a global initiative for transparency in the extractive industry, Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI).
The initiative brings together 50 countries and is supported by 80 of the world's largest oil, gas, and mining companies.
The countries that join EITI undertake to openly disclose all legal and financial frameworks that regulate the extractive industries in each country, all business contracts, how the profits are administered and used, and what social investments are made.
DN Global Development has reported in recent weeks how voters in Ecuador voted no to further mining in the country and how El Salvador last year completely banned all mining.
There are reactions to a widespread resistance to the mining industry, as Fredrik Reinfeldt says he is aware of.
"We recognize that there is criticism of mining for the simple reason that mines engage people. Mining has a high environmental impact, they are visible and they lead to discussions about who owns the minerals and to whose benefit the recovery is. Sometimes it can lead to popular protests. Then we say that's why the countries will use our standard so that they can visualize the number of resources and demands that they are used in a manner that comes to the best interests of the people, "says Fredrik Reinfeldt.
EITI represents a number of mineral-rich countries, and the board is represented by some of the world's largest mining companies. For them, a ban on mines is not an option. Instead, Fredrik Reinfeldt believes that both the governments and mining companies need to be better at allocating resources and anchoring mining operations with local people.
- For example, look at Peru, when we talk about Latin America. There, it is ensured that resources return to the regions where the mines lie so as to create a popular acceptance. You also make visible how much money it is about. I think this is absolutely central to not getting this kind of popular reaction that can lead to a ban, "says Fredrik Reinfeldt.
The former prime minister also warns that countries that are banned will risk cutting off the branch they are on.
"It is up to each of the countries to make their own decisions, so if you choose not to break, it will stand for them. It's not that they have a wide range of other resources they can use to ensure good development for their population, "says Fredrik Reinfeldt.
Three and a half billion people live in countries that have natural resources that give them opportunities to reach the UN's global goals, thus an opportunity to finance development efforts.
In the Philippines, senator and opposition politician Risa Hontiveros has proposed a law on more regulated mining. She tells DN Global Development that she does not believe in a total ban but wants to stop a large-scale metal extraction, that the local people around the mines get more to say if they get a greater share of the profits from the mines.
Risa Hontiveros is cautiously positive about EITI's work to increase transparency in the Philippine mining sector, but also says that it only works if the government and mining companies really follow the guidelines set up by EITI.
"It can give positive results. We will use the promises of the government and the Philippine mining industry to EITI to ensure that our team will eventually go through, says Risa Hontiveros.
Fredrik Reinfeldt emphasizes that if the world's countries are serious about achieving the UN's global development goals, or Agenda 2030, the mining industry must be involved.
Source: Svenska Dagbladet